How Texting Programs Improve Hotel Efficiency
November 3, 2016
In the competitive hospitality industry, efficient, convenient technology has become less of an amenity and more of a necessity. Curtis Burdette, general manager at Double JJ Resort chatted with LODGING to share some insight on how SMS text service Maestro helps the resort communicate with guests before they arrive, alert them when it’s time to check-in, and contact them anytime thereafter, revamping the conventional check-in process without compromising the rustic feel of their resort.
How did you decide to start using Maestro? We decided to start using it when we switched our property management system to Northwind. Using Swift SMS we verify our guests’ cell phone number, which is great for two reasons. First is that we have it on file for emergencies, future contact, and follow-up. It also helps us keep guests up-to-date regarding the status of their rooms. So if they’re here early it alerts them when the room is clean and inspected and it doesn’t require us to chase them down.
How has that impacted guest experience so far? Our guests love the advanced technology. People want to know that they’re getting the most up-to-date information. Because we’re such a big resort, if it’s super busy, our housekeepers are working really hard to get the rooms ready in a timely manner. The front desk is hustling and people are waiting, sometimes patiently, sometimes not. The message is automatic, so the front desk doesn’t have to look and see, or try to reach housekeeping on the radio. So it saves us from managing extra chaos and keeps the guest in the loop.
l Were you able to see a noticeable uptick in guest satisfaction? Yes, especially with our regular guests. We get a lot of early check-ins—people who come for a day trip on the first day. So, what we’ve done in our computer system is what we call a “soft check-in,” which means we’ve checked them in, ran their credit card, and updated their contact information, but we haven’t given them the keys to the room because it hasn’t been inspected yet. Guests are thrilled that they don’t have to keep calling the front desk or continually come up and check if the room is ready. It just notifies them when to come back. Having a system like that really delivers on the instant gratification that people are looking for in hospitality. I’ve worked at other hotels and that instant communication with guests, to let them know that their room’s ready, starts the stay out right. That’s very key to having a positive experience.